The Scottish Government has reaffirmed its ambition to “eradicate child poverty” in Scotland at the launch of a public consultation on the new ‘Child Poverty Bill’ earlier this week.
The Bill will be introduced next year and will form part of a radical new approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.
A range of initiatives aimed at addressing the problem are already underway, including a commitment to promoting the living wage, free school meals, expanding funding for early learning and childcare, new measures to tackle education inequalities, and £750m for the Scottish Attainment Fund over the course of the parliament to help improve the outcomes of socio-economically disadvantaged pupils.
Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Angela Constance launched the consultation in Dundee on Monday, where she visited a Summer Family Fun & Food Programme who are aiming to supply 20,000 meals over the summer.
Ms Constance said: “This Government has vowed to take action to tackle child poverty and we have already done a lot of work in this area but we want to go further.
“We’ve promised children a better start in life and more opportunities as they grow up; we’ve offered parents more and better-paid jobs and greater security in which to bring up their families; and we are committed to tackling deep-seated inequalities, especially in education and health.
“This isn’t only a job for Government. The ambition to tackle child poverty must be shared across the whole of Scotland. I want to talk about how we can work together with local governments, businesses and the third sector, but most importantly with people who experience poverty.
“Around one in five children live in poverty in Scotland. This is simply unacceptable in a modern, thriving country like ours. I want to be absolutely clear that we are serious about our ambition to eradicate child poverty, and I want to work together with partners across Scotland to make that ambition a reality.
“It was great to see some of the vital work going on in Dundee this morning but there is much more to be done. With many people affected by poverty I would like to hear from a wide range of people and organisations in this consultation.
“With this consultation we are showing that we see child poverty and low income families as a priority. We will continue to strive towards equality of opportunity for everyone in Scotland and ending the cycle of poverty once and for all.”
The consultation asks for comments on the Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce four statutory income targets:
- Fewer than 10% of children live in relative child poverty, after housing costs (AHC) by 2030
- Fewer than 5% of children live in absolute child poverty, AHC, by 2030
- Fewer than 5% of children live in low income and material deprivation, AHC, by 2030 and
- Fewer than 5% of children live in persistent poverty, AHC, by 2030